Law Offices of Ellis and Bryant, P.A.

Hardship License

Jacksonville Defense Attorneys for DUI Charges

In Florida, an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can put your driver license in jeopardy. If challenging the DUI suspension is unsuccessful, you may lose your driving privileges for months or even years. Fortunately, eligible drivers may apply for a hardship license when certain conditions are met. At Ellis and Bryant, we understand the negative impact that a suspended driver license may have on one’s life and livelihood. Our DUI lawyers can explain the requirements for reinstatement and help eligible drivers seek a hardship license in Jacksonville and surrounding locations.

Overview of a Florida Hardship License

In Florida, a DUI conviction will result in a driver license suspension, among other penalties. The mandatory minimum suspension period may range from 180 days for a first-time DUI, to permanent revocation for a fourth DUI conviction or DUI manslaughter. Moreover, refusal to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test is subject to a minimum one-year license suspension, regardless of conviction. Although a DUI suspension may be contested through a hearing or appeal, once the matter is final, driving privileges may only be granted on a restricted basis, if at all.

A hardship license is a type of restricted license that may be granted during a DUI suspension. It provides driving privileges only for specific needs, such as employment and business purposes, in situations where complete suspension would prevent a person from maintaining their livelihood or employment. There are two categories of hardship license. A hardship license that is restricted to business purposes generally allows for driving to and from work, driving for educational purposes, essential on-the-job driving, driving for church and medical reasons, and any driving necessary to maintain one’s livelihood. A hardship license restricted to employment purposes is more limited. It only allows for driving to and from work, and for necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation. A DUI attorney can advise you of the appropriate hardship license based on your eligibility and the details of your situation.

Conditions of a DUI Hardship License

While hardship reinstatement is possible in many DUI cases, it is important to note that not everyone is eligible for a hardship license under Florida law. Eligibility and the prerequisites to apply depend on several factors, including the specific DUI offense and any prior convictions, among other considerations. For example, a first-time offender with no prior DUI arrests typically may request a hearing for hardship reinstatement immediately, potentially avoiding any period of complete suspension of driving privileges. A second DUI conviction within five years, however, requires a one year waiting period before applying for a hardship license. The mandatory waiting period increases with the severity of the offense.

If the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles finds that the requirements for reinstatement have been satisfied and grants a hardship license, it will be subject to ongoing conditions, violation of which may result in cancellation of the license. In almost all cases, installation of an ignition interlock device on the primary vehicle is required as a condition of reinstatement. In addition, DUI school is generally a prerequisite to apply for a hardship license. A DUI supervision program may also be required for individuals with multiple DUI convictions. Failure to report for counseling or treatment may result in cancellation of the license. 

Seek Assistance from a Jacksonville DUI Defense Lawyer

If your driver license was suspended for a DUI, there may be options for reinstatement of limited driving privileges. At Ellis and Bryant, we can advise you of the conditions necessary to obtain a hardship license and provide guidance throughout the process. Our Jacksonville defense attorneys can represent people in DUI cases throughout Duval and Clay Counties, including Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, Middleburg, and Jacksonville. To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or submit our contact form online.